Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Time is not on our side.

I can remember when Time magazine was halfway serious.  Heck, I can remember when the Today Show was serious. Now it's all trendy and daring — what would be really daring would be not to be trendy and daring. Anyhow, cranky old coot that I am, I've always been in favor of breastfeeding on the theory that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  I'm not one of those who thinks natural things are automatically the best things, but I'm Darwinist enough to think that if we've evolved to do certain things, we'd better keep doing them or something will go haywire, and so we'd better figure out how to fit our natural drives into the necessities of modernity.

But having said that, there are cultural norms about natural things. It's traditional to be discreet about sex, for example, in just about all human cultures, so there's probably a good reason for it.  And, traditionally, breastfeeding has been performed, if not in isolation, at least in comparatively discreet circumstances.  With the Great Rejection of Everything in the Sixties, any notion of privacy or decorum was tossed out the window, though, and it's become a revolutionary act to breastfeed in public. I have mixed feelings about that. Certainly I want responsible motherhood to be encouraged by society at large, and feeding the kid is pretty basic to that. But I'm afraid the issue is developing into one of these "rights" things, and some of these guerrilla breastfeeders simply delight in being able to gross everybody out and have the excuse that they're doing something praiseworthy.

And the Time magazine cover is symptomatic of that.  They clearly don't give a damn about the virtues of breastfeeding, but they're enthusiastic about the shock value of their tacky cover.  They could have found a more wholesome illustration, you know.  I did. I found three of them, and even the anime one is downright dignified compared to Time's soft porn.

Anyhow, I don't have a really clear answer to all this, except for advising you to avoid Time and other exploitative manifestations of their mentality, but Kathy Shaidle has some ideas about it, and is funnier than I am about it, possibly in part because of her feminine (not feminist) perspective.  Read her treatment of the subject HERE.

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